Margiela is not foreign to breaking the traditional rules of fashion. Well-known for defining avant-garde (translated literally from French as "fore-guard") and pushing the boundaries of status quo. And this collection is no exception except the venue brought a touch of magic. Retro influences were brought in. From the second I walked into the grand, majestic ballroom of Salle Wagram, it felt almost like a strobe-light boarding school disco social, but more - with laser lights beaming from the chandeliers. Guests slowly entered, tried to find seats in the dim room; their seats scattered like a snake around the ballroom, with a sequence - very Margiela. Construction and deconstruction; planned even though it looked like it wasn't.
I left Salle Wagram without knowing who directed the collection - whether it was the recently appointed (last October) creative director John Galliano or was it 'Margiela' Margiela. After flicking through several reviews, it became apparent that it was indeed a "transitional show" and Galliano will debut his first collection for Margiela in June 2015 for SS16. The highlight was the materials used - a wardrobe similar to that of an art student, with the likes of leather panelled calf leather trousers, tinsel glitter jumpers, flesh-toned long-sleeved tops - keeping the look minimal. The flared jeans and prints shouted 70s, accompanying the soundtrack 'The Night' by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. Mismatched proportions and unfinished stitching in the clothing harked back at Margiela's true signature style.
Those unfamiliar with Margiela should know that no one ever says, 'who is the designer of Margiela?'. Because it wasn't until December 2009, where a press release stated that 'Margiela has left the business'; and previously in October 2009, where stakeholder Renzo Rosso disclosed that 'Margiela has not been there for a long time'. The Maison can be a strange concept to strangers, more even, a difficult one to understand. It's a team of highly trained designers who make it clear that they don't want commercial but iconic. The staff in the show ran around in white lab coats; and you'd find no different in-stores and even the headquarters). A good start to learn more about the brand is by reading Dean Mayo Davies of Dazed Digital's article on his visit to the headquarters in Paris.
Mystery is the main element of the brand. There's a theme behind every season but Margiela never really tells the complete story. Like a true Parisian woman, suggesting but never showing. Perhaps there's a lot more to be said. With Galliano officially leading the next season, the Maison opens a new chapter. True Margiela fans believe in this mystery and so are, naturally, hard to please. But nothing tells a story better than with time.
The lights didn't come on at the end of the show, and there wasn't a need to. Nor was there any 'focus light on stage' because no one came out to take a bow. Margiela's mystery doesn't stop there. That's where the mystery begins. The invitations are usually kept minimal but this season came with a clever, flirty message handwritten with the words: 'call me'. I told you Margiela was smart.
See the backstage video below to get another view of the show.
To be continued…#tbc